Experienced street performer and traveler James Ethington III, currently hanging his hat in New Mexico, emerges this summer with a uniquely creative collection of original songs.
Stylishly blending the acoustic singer-songwriter tones renowned across the busking scenes, with a subtly experimental production style and a dash of hip hop-esque rhythm and confidence, the project Rheacycle kicks into gear with a conceptually intriguing title-track.
The song leads with fragments of sound-play and a somewhat RnB-inspired verse melody that lays out the details of the story. Already James’ voice and his writing style reach out with clear identity.
Becca follows, and immediately we’re transported to the raw and intimate acoustic world of street-side guitar and vocals. A deeply personal, softly finger-picked song, with a mainstream-ready melody and a crystal clear story-line. The track lays bare a folk authenticity and an emotional core, and later builds up to become something of an Americana or country-pop classic.
A personal favorite from this project, Art Of My Life features some stunning vocal intricacies from James – another intimate song with an acoustic strum and a rhythmically addictive melody-line.
Then we get the sudden brightness and vibrancy of an aptly-titled Sexy.Juicy.Bouncy. A simple, likable but perhaps forgettable verse, is soon resolved by a brilliantly engaging, memorable hook – a moment that effectively allows the rest of the long-form set-up to connect with far more intensity and soul. Well crafted, and a further example of James’ versatility as a contemporary artist.
At the final hurdle we get a fast-paced, knees-up acoustic piece, with a unique chord progression and short, simple lines that lead the way well. Looking Glass brings things to a powerful finish, showcasing united vocals that create a sense of oneness – an anthem-like feel with a raw folk edge. A great way to go out, reminiscent of the likes of Jason Mraz somewhat, but with a more raspy, soft-rock tone.
There’s a slight feeling that this EP is too short for how enjoyable its playlist is, but as tends to be the case – it’s better to leave your audience wanting more, than to overstay a welcome. I look forward to the next release, but I’ll be enjoying this one for a little while longer yet.